Managing acute pulmonary embolism in primary care in a patient declining emergency department transfer: a case report.
For patients with acute pulmonary embolism (PE) diagnosed in the primary care setting, transfer to a higher level of care, like the emergency department, has long been the convention. Evidence is growing that outpatient management, that is, care without hospitalization, is safe, effective, and feasible for selected low-risk patients with acute PE. Whether outpatient care can be provided in the primary care setting has not been well-studied. We report a case of outpatient management of a low-risk patient with acute PE without emergency department transfer. A 74-year-old woman with a history of recent surgery and immobilization presented to a primary care physician with 10 days of mild, non-exertional pleuritic chest pain. Her D-dimer concentration was elevated. Computed tomography pulmonary angiography identified a lobar embolus without right ventricular dysfunction. She declined emergency department transfer but was classified as low risk (class II) on the PE Severity Index and met the criteria of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) for outpatient care. Her physician provided clinic-based PE management, discharging her to home with education, anticoagulation, and close follow-up. She completed her 3-month treatment course without complication. This case describes patient-centred, comprehensive, outpatient PE management in the primary care setting for a woman meeting explicit ESC outpatient criteria. This case illustrates the elements of care that clinics can put in place to facilitate PE management without having to transfer eligible low-risk patients to a higher level of care.